Over the years, the rivalry between Windom and Jackson County Central has been, shall we say, heated. There have been chants, taunts and teases. There have been ill-behaved students and boorish adults who should know better. So on Thursday when the Eagle volleyball team traveled south to Jackson for the matchup in the sport where the rivalry has probably been the most evenly matched over the years, it would be understandable to expect the worst from the fans of both teams. Instead, what we saw was a terrific example from the student cheering sections from both schools that should speak volumes to everyone who follows high school sports, particularly at Windom and JCC. The students basically said that just because we're rivals doesn't mean we have to be enemies. Throughout the match, both teams' cheering sections were loud. That could be expected, and it would have been somewhat disappointing if it wasn't that loud with the size of crowd in attendence. But in particular, the students cheering for both teams were largely positive in their cheering. I didn't hear a single cheer that taunted the other team or school from either side, and I spent time in the match by both student sections. In fact, there were times where the two student sections took part in cheers together, playing a fun little game of "Marco Polo" during the match. Even the old "We've got spirit" cheer didn't break down into the typical finish of "We've got more!" That's because it was clear that both schools' cheering sections had plenty of school spirit. How refreshing! So as I saw this unfold, I came to wonder how this all came about. How is it that students from two rival schools that have "hated" each other for decades can come to the realization that there's no need to hate? Perhaps it is parents teaching their kids that life is too short to despise someone simply because they go to another school. Perhaps it is school administrators who continually drive home the fact that taunts aren't going to be tolerated. Perhaps it boils down to the fact that Windom and JCC are paired in hockey and those hockey players tend to hang out with their teammates, regardless of what school they attended. And those teammates often wind up crossing paths with other students from the other school. But the biggest factor is the kids themselves, who have seen the branches of their tree of friendship come into contact with those from their rival school. It's fairly clear that the current populations of the schools have friends at the other school. And that can only be a good thing. Whatever the case may be, Thursday night, every fan in the Jackson gym could be proud of their team and proud of their students for the class they showed, both on the court and in the crowd. It was a good night to be an Eagle or a Husky Thursday night. And that's the way it should always be in high school sports. Well done, students of Windom and JCC!